Working on a first impressions piece about Mabinogi. Will keep the self-flagellation to a minimum but really, I only do it because it feels good when I stop.
On to the blogs!
Are persistent henchmen the new groups? Syp thinks they might be. Star Wars: The Old Republic will have them (echoing the party you gathered in Knights of the Old Republic). Guild Wars has their henchmen. EverQuest has their mecenaries. Star Trek Online has their bridge crew. Have MMOs truly come full circle back to their single player, you+your crew of helpers, roots? Is it truly not worth the trouble anymore to be part of a group that includes other living people?
Beau at Spouse Aggro takes a stand that we, as players, shouldn’t ever settle for the same-old, same-old. Because, American Idol is pablum and hip hop has stopped innovating in order to chase the bouncing ball of commercial success. Hey, I LIKE American Idol, and you know why? Because it’s not ABOUT the music. It’s about the journey. Not about the horse, it’s about the horse race, right? He has a point, though. If all people ever play are the popular games, all people will make is games just like them. You want something different? You have to play something different.
I would have HATED to have missed Wizard 101 just because it wasn’t like any other MMO.
Spinks has a few words of advice for raid leaders on how to keep people focused and moving. Though she’s speaking specifically of WoW, this is more or less how you had to run an EverQuest raid if you expected anything to happen (though EQ required appointing team leaders for healing, pulling, crowd control and so on that may not apply to WoW). REALLY good advice.
What if you played an MMO, not for loot and levels, but just for fun? It’s an idea that hasn’t been popular lately, with achiever-type games that urge you to progress at great speed to a legendary end game where everything you have worked for for so long is reduced to stats and parses and soul-crushing grinds. But there’s ways to put some of the fun back in achiever type games, if you work at it.
Green Armadillo is working through EverQuest II a section at a time, not letting explorations of dusty tombs or fiery lands go by just because they no longer give the best experience. And Hudson has gone all the way back to the original achiever MMO, EverQuest, to see what mysteries still lurk in the places nobody goes.
Drew Shial of The Wizard of Duke Street is loving EQII as well, especially the Timorous Deep quest lines added with the Rise of Kunark expansion. Reasons why he’s having fun? The relative LACK of explicit guidance as compared to WoW’s reliance on guides and in-game help, and the plot (and plot twists) of the Sarnak’s quest to both find themselves and preserve their way of life. I love reading these kinds of stories :)
Gordon of We Fly Spitfires is nostalgic about an old SOE game, but it’s not EQ or EQII — he’s missing the good old days of Star Wars: Galaxies. Surprised? I hear a LOT of people wax nostalgic about that game, though I could never get into it (and plus, it ran poorly on my machine, always a downer).
No matter what the game, I always hear the same things about the games people really loved: they were an integral part of a story, even if it was only a story they made up, and they shared their time with friends. Doesn’t matter what the game is. Memories are made through stories and friendships.
Caliga takes a little look at two social MMOs, Gatheryn and Blue Mars. He doesn’t like how Gatheryn looks because, well, compared to Blue Mars, everything looks a little cheap. But how much of a computer will you need to run Gatheryn vs Blue Mars? And neither game is done, Gatheryn may add optional shaders for more graphical coolness. Both games, though, are different than most games of the genre.
Blue Mars, reports Caliga, is a planet full of self-contained regions, any of which could have different rules, payment plans — anything. Second Life meets Metaplace, right?
Ooops, guess we’ve hit the end of the text box, so it must be time to get going. See you tomorrow, and no matter where you are — have fun!